World Economic Forum study reveals that Bangladesh is one of the top 10 countries in the world in reducing gender gaps and this leads the country to win the prestigious Women in Parliaments (WIP) Global Forum Award for “regional leadership in closing the gender gap in politics”.
Based on the rankings of the World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap Report”, WIP Awards were presented at the WIP Summit 2015 to those countries which were recognized for their political empowerment of women, and to countries which showed regional leadership in closing the gender gap in politics. In the regional category “South and Southeast Asia”, Bangladesh won the award for its outstanding success in closing the gender gap in the political sphere. Prime Minister of Bangladesh was invited by the founder of the Switzerland-based WIP, Ms. Silvana Koch-Mehrin to receive the award. On her behalf, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Md. Shahriar Alam accepted the award today at the Headquarters of African Union, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. However, Prime Minister has sent a video message to be played at the WIP Award Ceremony on the closing day of the WIP Summit on 25 March.
While accepting the award on the eve of the 45th Independence Day of the country, State Minister for Foreign Affairs dedicated this award to over 2,00,000 women who were subjected to the worst form of gender violence during the historic Liberation War of Bangladesh and also to women in Bangladesh and South Asia who have chosen a life in politics to make a difference in their societies. He expressed his conviction that women’s growing political participation would make a shift in politics and women’s voice and representation will make politics more oriented to ‘service’ and ‘care’. He also stated that women’s contribution to policy making serves other weaker segments of the population. Mentioning women as the best advocates for promoting a ‘culture of peace’ in the minds of people, the State Minister urged for women’s empowerment as a tool for the implementation of the post 2015 sustainable development goals. Referring to the legislative framework put in place for the protection and promotion of women’s rights in the country, the State Minister briefly enumerated the initiatives taken by the Government of Bangladesh for the empowerment and the inclusion of women in every sphere of politics and development. He observed that women’s active participation in politics, defence, administration or business in Bangladesh has made the country a pioneer in the cause of women’s rights. He also reaffirmed Bangladesh’s unequivocal commitment to establishing gender equality and uproot violence against women from the society. Audience applauded when State Minister informed the house that Bangladesh has a unique situation where the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, the Leader of Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the House are all women.
On the side line of the WIP Summit, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs met the Ethiopian State Minister for Trade and the Director General of Ethiopian Investment Commission. During these meetings, he discussed the trade and investment potentials between Bangladesh and Ethiopia with those dignitaries. Both the State Ministers agreed that Bangladesh and Ethiopia should conclude a Trade and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement to enhance bilateral trade and investment. The Ethiopian State Minister also informed the State Minister of Bangladesh that a high-level trade delegation would visit Bangladesh soon. The State Minister would also call on the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia tomorrow to discuss various bilateral issues.